Mina Conant Billmyer Biography

Mina Conant Billmyer





Mina Conant Billmyer (nee Mina Conant), painter, printmaker, mosaic artist, and activist, was born in Fort Collins, Colorado on November 3, 1910. She grew up in Denver where she graduated from East High School. She attended the University of Denver where she met her future husband John Edward Billmyer. As students they conspired to work as janitors at Chappell House in exchange for studying there with faculty members of the University of Denver School of Art. Conant earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Denver. She married Billmyer, craftsman and educator, in 1933 and they moved to Cleveland so that he could attend architecture school. They returned to Denver in 1947 and resided there until 1977, when they moved to Tucson, Arizona.

In 1948, Constant and Billmyer were founding members of the modernist group 15 Colorado Artists that broke away from the traditional Denver Artists Guild. The other members were Don F. Allen, Marion Buchan, Jean Charlot, Angelo Di Benedetto, EO Kirchner, Vivian Kirkland, Moritz Krieg, Duard Marshall, Louise Emerson Ronnebeck, William Sanderson, Paul Smith, Richard Sorby and Frank Vavra. The Kirkland Museum mounted a well-received exhibition of their work in May 1948.

Mina Conant was commissioned for various art projects and taught classes at the Denver Art Museum and in the Denver Public School system. She created liturgical mosaics and her fourteen stations of the cross can be viewed at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Brighton, Colorado. Conant participated in exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum, and the annual Blossom Festival in Canon City, Colorado. In 1953 the Denver Art Museum offered her woodcut, Dreaming Cat, as a membership gift, and she had two solo exhibitions of her work at the Neusteter’s Gallery of Fine Arts in Denver.

She was also an activist and picketed the University of Denver in protest of the Vietnam War, and joined the protest against the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant. She often wore a paper sack over her head during protests to shield her husband from any backlash as he headed the ceramics department at the University of Denver.

Her work is in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Charles Marvin Fairchild Gallery-Georgetown University; the Rockford Art Museum, Illinois, the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art, Denver.

Mina Conant Billmyer died in Tucson, Arizona on 12 June 1999.